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Prosecuting Terrorism

Terrorism, race hate, crimes against humanity, war crimes, violent extremism, hijacking and espionage cases are tackled by a specialist team of Crown Prosecutors. The Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS includes highly experienced prosecutors, advocates and caseworkers who work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.

Find out more about how we prosecute cases of terrorism.

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale sentenced for the murder of Lee Rigby


Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were today jailed for life at the Old Bailey. In sentencing, the court applied Section 30 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, which makes provision for certain mainstream offences to be considered as having a terrorism connection. Section 30(2) imposes a mandatory requirement on the court to decide whether an offence has a terrorist connection and if, having heard from the parties, it decides that it does it must then treat it as an aggravating factor (s.30(4)).

Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale revelled in one of the most appalling terrorist murders I have seen whilst head of counter terrorism at the CPS.

"Not only was the attack brutal and calculated, it was also designed to advance extremist views. As a soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby was targeted in a clear act of revenge, deliberately carried out in full view of members of the public for maximum impact.

"Under the law, terrorism is committed by a defined act designed to influence a Government, the public or an NGO for the purpose of advancing a religious, political, ideological or racial cause. This attack was always going to fail in that purpose as it served only to bring people together in shock, sympathy and solidarity.

"In December, the two defendants were convicted of a savage murder. Following strong argument from the prosecution, they have today been sentenced for carrying out that murder during an act of terrorism.

"I know the court process has been particularly distressing for Lee Rigby's family. I hope they can take some small comfort from the sentences imposed today and can begin to move on."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are four national casework divisions: Central Fraud, Welfare Rural & Health, Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. A 'virtual' 14th Area is CPS Direct which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.